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How to Map a Network Drive

If you frequently access a file server from a Mac it’s pretty helpful to map the network drive to your desktop. There’s two ways to do this, one method is just mapped for one time use and will reset after a reboot, and another method is a more permanent route that allows the mapped network drive to always appear and mount on your desktop after system reboots and user logins. We will cover how to do set up both, so that if you just want to temporarily connect to a network share, or always connect to a network drive, you’ll be able to do either in OS X.


These techniques work the same in all versions of OS X, including Yosemite, Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard, you name it. This also works on all common network share types, though AFP and SMB / Windows are the most common for most Mac users.

How to Map a Network Drive / Server to Mac OS X

This method connects to and maps a network drive or network share that will disappear if the network connection drops, is disconnected, or if you reboot your Mac:

  1. From the Mac OS X Finder, hit Command+K to bring up the ‘Connect to Server’ window
  2. Enter the path to the network drive you want to map, ie: smb://networkcomputer/networkshare and click ‘Connect’
  3. Enter your login/password and click “OK” to mount the network drive
  4. The drive will now appear on your desktop and in the Finder window sidebar

map network drive mac

You can access the network share like any other folder at this point, so long as it’s maintained on the same network.

Connected Mac network share

Map a network drive to Mac OS X that re-mounts after system reboot

This method allows you to reboot your Mac and have the mapped network drive / network share automatically connect and remount, appearing on the desktop of OS X or in the Finder sidebar. This is more persistent than the above method and is helpful for network shares you connect to frequently:

  1. From the Finder, hit Command+K
  2. Enter the path to the network drive you want to map, ie: smb://networkcomputer/networkshare and click ‘Connect’
  3. Enter your login credentials and click “OK”
  4. The drive is now mounted, but continue on to map for system reboot persistence
  5. Now enter into System Preferences, from the Apple menu
  6. Click on ‘Accounts’
  7. Click on “Login Items”
  8. Click on the + button to add another login item
  9. Locate the network drive you previously mounted and click “Add”
  10. Exit out of System Preferences

Your network drive will now be mapped and automatically remounted when you reboot your Mac. Keep in mind that if you leave the network where the mapped share is located, the drive/share will not automatically reconnect until that network is joined again, and the Mac is either rebooted or manually reconnected to the desired network share.

Nonetheless, the actual mounted network share works the same as usual, visible through Finder as a folder. You can also go to the Network window to see the connected shares.

Browsing network mapped shares from a Mac

Let’s go a step further and make the network share visible on the OS X Desktop, and learn an easy way to remap a drive with an alias.

How to Make the Mapped Network Drive Visible on the Mac Desktop

It’s possible that the mounted drive will not appear on the desktop due to a system setting. If you want the mapped drive icon to be visible on the Desktop, be sure to do the following additional steps:

  1. From the Finder, open Finder Preferences by hitting Command+,
  2. Click the General tab
  3. Select the checkbox next to ‘Connected Servers’
  4. Close Finder Preferences

Selecting the checkbox next to Connected Servers ensures that you’ll see the icon on your Mac Desktop, otherwise it will only be visible in the Finder window sidebars and Open/Savedialogues.

Remount a mapped network drive with a click in OS X

A great additional step for either method is to create an alias of the mapped network drive. This allows you to reconnect to the share with just a click. Here’s how to do this:

  • Right-click on the mapped network drive on the Mac OS desktop
  • Select “Make Alias”

Now you can double-click that alias to reconnect to the network drive instantly.